In 2011, one of the most remembered moments came when the San Francisco 49ers knocked off the Detroit Lions and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh shook hands too roughly with Lions' coach Jim Schwartz. After the game, a new rivalry was born when neither coach would back down. Week 2 of the 2012 NFL season brings fans the 49ers vs. Lions in their first meeting since that confrontation.
The Passing Game
The Detroit Lions own the game in this area, with Matthew Stafford coming off a 5,000-yard passing season and Megatron Calvin Johnson remaining one of the NFL's premiere wide receivers. The 49ers have one of the best defenses in football, and shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 1.
On the other side, Alex Smith wants to prove he is more than just a game manager. He threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 and has Randy Moss, one of the NFL's legendary receivers, catching his passes now. While Detroit has the more explosive offense, the 49ers defense should make the two offenses look more similar.
The Running Game
Kevin Smith continues to run the ball for the Lions, with their running back depth shattered due to injuries. He ran for 62 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, but expect the 49ers to completely shut him down. If Detroit wins here, it will be through the air.
The 49ers still rely on workhorse Frank Gore in the backfield. He ran for 112 yards and a touchdown in the Game 1 win over the Packers and the 49ers will get him running hard and early to wear the clock down against the high-powered Lions' offense.
The 49ers have arguably the NFL's best defense. They can stop the running game, regardless of who they are playing, so the Lions will have the throw the ball early and often to win this game. With the 49ers always finding turnovers, Stafford will also have to play better than he did in Week 1 to win here.
The Lions had to come from behind for the win over the St. Louis Rams in Week 1, allowing St. Louis to score 23 points. Detroit is a team that relies on their offense to win the game and if they give up 23 against the Rams, the 49ers can score that many as well. If Detroit wins, this will be a high scoring game.
The San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers and if they win here, they will be the NFL's best team until someone proves them otherwise. The Lions want to win here to make up for their 2011 loss and keep their heads at the top of the 2012 NFC class. The 49ers vs. Lions game is the main event of the Week 2 NFL schedule and one for the ages. Prediction: San Francisco: 17 Detroit: 14.